Thursday, December 20, 2012

Greetings from!

When Benevolent Power Pop Overlord (and generally righteous dude) Curty Ray asked me to contribute some titles for a Best Of 2012, I had a lot of thinking to do. There were plenty of records I appreciated this year, but I wanted to make sure to offer up a shortlist of things guaranteed to make the listener happy, or at least not want to hunt me down in here we go.

1. Brendan Benson - What Kind Of World: It would be petty to say this record asks and answers the question, "Jack who?" Benson, the "other guy" in The Raconteurs not only nailed it with this release, he recorded what may be his finest moment thus far, the killer track "Bad For Me." Seek this out!

2. Bill Lloyd - Boy King Of Tokyo: This is probably the album I have shared with people the most this year. Has Bill Lloyd ever let us down? No, never, and of the releases from 2012 this is the one I wish was on vinyl because it is such a warm, fuzzy throwback to the best pop of yore. I dare you to not hum along to "Up In The Air" or to laugh at the dark humor that surfaces in "Com-Trol."

3. Imperial State Electric - Pop War: Nicke from The Hellacopters has captured '70s power pop in a concise bottle called Pop War without sounding like a rip-off. It's a little glam, a little Cheap Trick, but it never is little in the hooks department. It's crunchy, it's tasty, and it demands to be played ever so loudly.

4. David Myhr - Soundshine: The album that is most like the title of the album, this disc is designed to put a big old stupid smile on your face from ear to ear. To crib a line from Mike Viola, this was the soundtrack to my summer with windows rolled down all the way. For anyone who wishes the Merrymakers would reunite, I don't know how that would be possible, but the overall joy of this recording helps one to forget the prospect (if temporarily).

5. Calexico - Algiers: Okay so it isn't technically a power pop record, but when you need a disc to chill out with, the band co-founded by Joey Burns and John Convertino make a truly international flavor of Americana. The song "Fortune Teller" is easily one of their best out of a sterling career of bests.

Best reissue(s): Has to be Jellyfish landing on vinyl via Omnivore Records. The label released the band's two classics Bellybutton and Spilt Milk with the respect we always knew they deserved.

Biggest disappointment of 2012: This kills me to say it, as there are a few really good cuts on it AND it appears to be a huge hit, but Some Nights by fun. is nowhere near the majesty that was their debut Aim & Ignite. Just sayin'.

There are plenty more great records from the year, but they don't quite fit the power pop mode, so I'll leave it here. But remember, folks. If you like what you're hearing, go out and buy it. That's how we keep this thing going. Have a happy holiday, whatever yours may be, and be ready to rock in 2013. We're counting on you, so don't let us down!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

John Wicks - Works In Progress now at Kool Kat

John Wicks is currently taking a break from live Records' shows for a while to concentrate on his songwriting activities, and also to resume recording brand new Records' songs. In the meantime, this 12-song collection of demos, rare and unreleased recordings from 1982-2012 is the perfect conduit between The Records of yesterday and tomorrow and is a must have for any fan! Features track by track annotations and insight by John. TRACK LISTING: "Cry A Million Tears" ("Rock-Ola" demo), "Her Stars Are My Stars" ("Rock-Ola" demo), "Union Jack" ("Rock-Ola" demo), "Holding On To A Dream", "Every Word We Say" ("Rock-Ola" demo), "The Heroes", "She's All I Need", "Forever Blue" ("Rock-Ola" demo), "Golden Sunlight", "Liverpool" ("Rock-Ola" demo), and "Nowhere Left To Run". EXCELLENT!!

This is a special CDR release priced to move at $12, so order it while you can. You can hear audio clips here or ORDER YOUR COPY HERE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

xo for the Holidays

When is it the right time to start pushing holiday music… WHEN Justin Bieber’s holiday album is charting top 20 on itunes! YIKES!

Christmas is almost here and I am sure there will be no shortage of gift ideas placed in your path during the next few weeks. Newspapers, Radio and TV will be filled with ads offering novel, interesting, compelling, and occasionally useful gifts for those on your list!

Home of the fabulous Backsliders, xo publicity offers up their fifth installment of "xo for the Holidays"! Best of all, this one is free! Ho Ho Ho! Happy Holidays from xo!

V/A - xo for the Holidays - 2012


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Green - Green - 1986

In the mid-'80s, Chicago's music scene was dominated by muscular, hard-edged punk-inspired acts like Naked Raygun, Big Black, and the Effigies, and in this context Green stuck out like a sore thumb, as Jeff Lescher and his bandmates wrote smart, tuneful, and energetic pop tunes and played them with the appropriate degree of spunk communicated through simple, well-crafted arrangements. Listening to Green's first full-length album years after the fact, it often seems as if Green were pushing the aggressive factor of some of their songs in order to better fit in with their peers; the anger of "Hurt You" and the snarky attitude of "Big in Japan" and "I'm Not Going Down (Anymore)" feel forced, and while these guys could rock out when they wanted, they were always at their best when they were willing to fly their flag for the hooky stuff they loved. And there are some top-shelf pop tunes on Green's self-titled debut; the nervy "Gotta Getta Record Out" is an anthem for every band with more ambition than experience, "Curry Your Favor" is full of heartfelt romantic yearning, the mostly acoustic "For You" shows off a folk-rock influence that fit this band nicely, "I Don't Wanna Say No" does the same for rhythm & blues, and "I Play the Records" is a irresistible rocker with a snaky guitar line. Lescher's guitar and vocal work is strong throughout, bassist John Diamond and drummer John Valley fill in the empty spaces and keep the music moving forward at all times, and if the production is a bit thin in spots, it captures the essence of the band very well indeed. Green may not have been the hippest band in Chicago in 1986, but the album they made that year shows they could write a great song and make it work on tape, and that's a skill to be appreciated whatever the time, place, or fashion. -AMG

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

George Usher - Dutch April - 1998

They just don't write pop songs like George Usher's anymore -- jangly, sparkling and effortlessly irresistible, his music is a throwback to another era, with rich melodies and sugar-sweet arrangements harking back to the glory days of the Beach Boys and the Left Banke (with a considerable tip of the hat to the Byrds as well). Dutch April is a small treasure, a virtual primer in pop craftsmanship -- highlights like "You Better Let It Go" and "Begging for Rain" possess a timeless quality that's all too rare, being instantly memorable but also fresh upon each repeat listening. -AMG

The Pencils + bonus disk available this week at Kool Kat

Available for the first time ever on CD is the self-titled, ridiculously rare, previously vinyl-LP by 80's British power poppers The Pencils! And, in true Kool Kat style, we've fleshed it out with an additional two discs worth of previously unreleased material! The Pencils were a band that were never even a blip on the radar of power pop experts and aficionados, but once you hear them I think you'll agree that a true "lost gem" of a band/record has been unleashed upon pop fans everywhere! COMES WITH AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS DISC - "EARLY SKETCHES" - AN 8-SONG COLLECTION OF EARLY "HOME DEMOS" RECORDED BY THE BAND IN 1981.  To order, simply click here ! If you're a fan of Squeeze, The Kinks, The Pinkees, The Romantics, Elvis Costello, and Sire Records-period Searchers, then you're gonna LOVE this!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock

Longtime friend of Power Pop Overdose , Andrew Curry, is putting together an album that pays tribute to the Lite Rock classics of the late '70s and early '80s. Scheduled for a spring 2013 release, "Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute To Lite Rock" will spotlight those songs originally made famous by the likes of Robbie Dupree, Randy VanWarmer, Ambrosia, Rupert Holmes and many more, and features an artist roster that includes Mike Viola, Bleu, Linus of Hollywood, and David Myhr, among others. Join the Facebook page devoted to the project to learn more about the album, the participating artists, and the songs they'll be covering (

Here is a quick teaser for the album featuring Michael Carpenter's contribution of Cliff Richard's classic, We Don't Talk Anymore.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Condors - Tales of Drunkeness and Cruelty - 2001

With jumping rhythms and catchy guitar figures running throughout the album, the Condors find a comfortable sense of energy; it's the link between rockabilly, classic R&B, mod and first-wave punk. With a slightly dirty sound, the band cranks out down-home rockers smacking of fun times. Songs like 'Got No Reason,' sparkling with the spice of mod-pop guitar work, or the chicken-pickin' country-rock guitar of 'Drinkin' Myself to Sleep,' offer nothing but good, clean rock'n'roll fun. -Matt Schild, 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Lightning Seeds - Cloudcookland - 1990

Taking what he learned from his days in Big in Japan and his '80s production work with A-listers Echo & the Bunnymen, Ian Broudie created the Lightning Seeds project to better serve his cravings for shameless, lush pop. Even in these early days, with singles like "Pure" and "All I Want," you can hear why comparisons to a less burlesque Pet Shop Boys or a Matthew Sweet synth tribute band didn't have to be unpleasant criticisms. Ian Broudie has always had an evident love for freshly squeezed, exquisitely produced conservatism, but as in the decidedly odd "Control the Flame," not without the awareness of discovering it with well-constructed unsophistication. For some, Broudie destroyed his subsequent career by trying to recreate the gelatinous flavor of Cloudcuckooland without its flaws, relying too much on its John Hughes sonics, and mistaking his very strengths for hard and fast rules that would not and should not be deconstructed again. -AMG

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kurt Baker live on BreakThru Radio

Serious Business on BTR is hosted by Travis Harrison, head of Serious Business record label, and each week he invites a new band to his studio for exclusive interviews where anything goes. This week's episode features Portland singer/songwriter, Kurt Baker. Check it out.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Men - The men Return - 2006

The Men is a Mod outfit from Lund, Sweden, and something of a small “supergroup” since they formed out of four already established Swedish garage bands, The Sinners, The Girls, Thee Expression and Colubrids. They got together a few years ago to form the ultimate live-band; explosive, stylish, tight, groovy, cool and fun (No shoegazers!) – a band the members themselves would love to see. For their first album The Men picked their songs from the same sources The Stones, The Who, The Action and The Small Faces did when they started. Simple, gutsy and groovy black R&B and soul, delivered in a white guitar group-style with high three-part harmony vocals, á la spring 1965 in London. This album was recorded quickly in a two-day session and released in Sweden by Border Music in 2002 and by Pure Pop Records in Australia 2003. Fans as well as critics both home and abroad overwhelmingly received the album. The record received great reviews in Rolling Stone and Scootering to name a few. The Men were rapidly becoming one of the most interesting up and coming acts on the Swedish music scene. -CD Baby

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chevelles - Gigantic - 1993

Power-popsters the Chevelles formed in Perth, Australia in the early 1990s; comprising singers / guitarists Duane Smith and Adrian Allen, bassist Jeff Halley and drummer Julian Buckland, the group debuted in 1993 with the LP Gigantic, followed three years later by Rollerball Candy. -AMG

Monday, October 29, 2012

Candy Butchers - Play With Your Head - 2002

On their/his full-length debut album, Falling Into Place, Candy Butchers' Mike Viola (the group name is really a polite fiction) came off as a successor to Graham Parker and early Elvis Costello in the romantically angered post-punk new wave vein, a worthy enough position that tends to delight critics without engaging the critical mass of fans it takes to maintain a major-label record contract. On his/their second album (this time the billing is Candy Butchers instead of Mike Viola & Candy Butchers), Viola often comes off as a Marshall Crenshaw-style power popper, steeped in the sound of mid-'60s pop/rock and its fascination with unusual sounds audible on the margins of tracks dominated by electric guitar riffs and hooky choruses. "Baby, It's a Long Way Down," for example, is distinctly Beatlesque, while "My Monkey Made a Man Out of Me," apparently a celebration of addiction, boasts an intro and outro that recall George Harrison's flirtation with Indian music. On Falling Into Place, Viola seemed to be writing the same song of romantic disappointment over and over; here he is still disappointed, but his frustration is more global. "The older I get the more it seems/I watch my dreams get smaller," he begins on "It's a Line," and this sense of diminished expectations pervades the songs. The romantic element is not absent, but things are more specific and more desperate, notably on "I Let Her Get Away," in which a pregnancy is compared to mold. By album's end, Viola has practically abandoned the studio trickery to return to a Parker/Costello-like stance on "Make No Mistake," singing over acoustic guitar accompaniment with bitter wordplay that continues into the elegiac closer, "Call Off the Dogs." The album makes another impressive, if severe, statement likely to play well to the brainy and miss the masses. -AMG

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kurt Baker - Brand New Beat Out 10/30/12

Well He has done it again, Kurt Baker has come up with another great album. The master of DIY marketing will be releasing his new album, Brand New Beat, on October 30. You don`t get Power Pop better than this. A great mix mix of Classic Power Pop, Power Punk and pure unadulterated fun, Brand New Beat is sure to make the PPO Top Ten for 2012.  Not a bad track in the whole lot, short and sweet, great vocals and a rock solid band, this one is hard to stop listening to!!  In another time this would have filled up the airwaves and Kurt Baker would have been a household name. You must pick this one up!

Brand New Beat will be released on Collector’s Club Records! Vinyl will be pressed by Jolly Ronnie Records and Torreznetes Entertainment in España!
twitter @kurtmiltonbaker
instagram: kurtmiltonbaker

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

True Hearts now at Kool Kat

"An excellent power pop band who, like many other equally talented bands, never got the chance they deserved back in the day. Thankfully, Kool Kat has wrested this fine album from the jaws of obscurity, and it deserves to claim a spot on the shelves of any fan of the genre!" - David Bash/IPO GREAT!!!

The original True Hearts album has been rediscovered and released on the KoolKat Musik label and is available now. Don't miss it this time around!

The RATBOYS ....are Stupid Brats

Once again The Ratboys display their amazing brand of 77 punk and powerpop! Infectious lyrics, solid guitar riffs, and more than a passing nod to 60s garage rock . . . with a shitload of 77 snottiness thrown in for good measure, just what Curty Ray likes, I think you will too.

The EP is available only as a digital download! Jump over to Bandcamp and get it today!

It looks like I will try...

Going to give zippyshare a whirl.  I will post links in the comments section for now.  It is going to take a while to upload all the links so be patient.  If there is anything you must have right away just leave a comment or email PPO.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Looks like Mediafire has suspended my account.  Not sure where this leaves us but PPO is not dead yet. Any ideas would be helpful.

Curty Ray

Protones - Nothing To Say - 1996

A power pop band from Spain, Protones debuted with the release of an EP attached to the first issue of a fanzine called Rock Indiana, followed by their first album, Cartunes. After issuing Nothing to Say in 1996, the Plimsouls' Paul Collins teamed up with the band, producing their following record, Not That Difficult. Protones moved to California to participate in the International Pop Overthrow soon after. In 1999, guitarist Octavio (aka Octavio Vinck) and bassist Tato (aka David Tato) joined the band. In 2001, the Spanish group returned with Come Out and Play, including "Now That I Think of It," a song featured in the movie No Te Fallaré. -AMC

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Soulwax - Much Against Everyone's Advice - 1999

Soulwax's US debut album Much Against Everyone's Advice mixes rock and electronica on songs like "Too Many DJs," "When Logics Die" and "Overweight Karate Kid." The Belgian group's mix of loops, guitars, strings and dance-inspired rhythms is fresh and appealing, and Much Against Everyone's Advice - Soulwax's third album overall - is their finest to date. -AMG

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Feedbacks - Speedway - 1999

This is the second album from this Asturias quartet. Faster and more powerful than any other band of their generation, the Feedbacks were at this time also the best at hitting several splendid catchy pop melodies.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Challenger 7 - Payola - 2000

Australia's Challenger 7 are obviously indebted to the Replacements' style of sloppy, catchy hard rock. In fact, inside of the CD insert is a picture of the band in their room in front of a -- surprise -- album flat of the Replacements' Hootenanny. To boot, one of the tracks on this excellent debut is a somewhat literal cover of the 'Mats' "Left of the Dial." Don't write Challenger 7 off as a tribute band, though; Payola has stacks of riffage and a dozen originals on par with many of the Replacements' early songs. Aided in a large part by the production of Aussie pop guru Michael Carpenter, Payola is loud and raucous, but still clean enough to be bold. You won't find any muddied sound here; it's completely crisp, but the crisp sound is masked by the dirty guitars. It is a perfect combination, although it means that sonically Payola sometimes outshines the songwriting of the band members. No worry, though, as even the undistinguished material on this album is enjoyable, and when they hit, as they do on the instant classic "Rock 'N' Roll Sound," the tense "Believe in Me," or the epic ballad "Sunshower," they hit right on. As an added bonus, the album packaging deserves note: The cover features the band dressed in '70s polyester pants and there are countless other kitschy images (bowling shoes, old album posters) throughout. It matches the music perfectly and is ideal eye candy. -AMG

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Scruffs - Swingin' Singles - 2003

Of course, as anyone familiar with The Scruffs knows, it is Big Star and Raspberries (Burns voice sounds like a more gravely version of Eric Carmen`s) that is the primary launch pad for the template of Stephen Burns and The Scruffs. Wonderfully so. "Sugar" being the most classic, long lost Big Star sounding track we`ve heard in years. But think more on the Chris Bell side of things, as opposed to Chilton. "You Are Wrong(I Am Right)" has the gorgeous mastery of Bell`s strongest assets in mind. This album first came out in 2003 but never made it to these shores and was mired in obscurity. Consider the problem rectified and a pop legend rediscovered and reborn and relevant for the present. Big Time Extremely Highly Recommended! -Not Lame

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doug Powell - Day For Night - 2004

Even if he wasn't already known for some professional associations with Todd Rundgren, Day for Night couldn't fail to recall much of the work by the Todd-man, in approach and production if not specific riffs and songs. There's that same confident command of an arsenal of instruments and high-sheen technological textures, as well as an inclination to temper that gloss with wistful romantic melodies, keyboards, and singing. It's way too slick to be "underground," yet too idiosyncratic in its one-man dazzle to be mainstream. Both the melodies and the arrangements have a soaring quality, sung by Powell with good-natured energy even when the words are a little ambiguous and distraught. Powell's good at using synthetic backdrops that sound creepy without getting overly icy, something that helps balance sweeter outings like "Silent Kisses," which can veer a bit into too sleekly anthemic territory. Getting beyond the artifice, the songs here are well crafted and full of all kinds of hard to trace electronic squiggles and left turns, but a little lacking in killer tunes or unalloyed heart. It's too eclectic an album to easily box, though, with "Stanislaw Smith" being a throwback to the eccentric character sketches of the likes of Roy Wood and Ray Davies, "Invincible" guaranteed to appeal to fans of traditional guitar power pop, and "Goodbye Lady Godiva" getting into the theatrical piano ballads pioneered by Paul McCartney and other British rockers. -AMG

Monday, September 3, 2012

Brian Jonestown Massacre - Methodrone - 1995

While Brian Jonestown Massacre have since become known for their wasted Stones take on music (in any number of permutations), when the debut album Methodrone finally surfaced after months of delay (to the point where a side project album by ImaJinary Friends actually came out first), there was an easy, one-word reaction: shoegazers. Redolent with the spirit of such high priests of effects and delay as Loop, Spaceman 3, and My Bloody Valentine, not to mention a fair dollop of the Jesus and Mary Chain (sample song titles: "That Girl Suicide," "Hyperventilation," "She's Gone"), Methodrone clearly is the sum of its influences. Thankfully BJM does a very solid job with them throughout the album's course of over 70 minutes. Anton Newcombe favors breathy, sighing vocals over post-Jagger drawls, understandably ("Crushed" is as perfect an example of American Anglo singing as it gets), while the seven other rotating bandmembers whip up a good amount of machine-like chugging and rave-up bliss as they go. Part of the reason why it all works so well is Newcombe's impressive abilities to actually perform rather than pose. "Wisdom," for instance, isn't very complex, but it successfully creates a psychedelic haze. While assembled from a variety of different sessions and about seven different engineers, Methodrone feels like a unified collection. Newcombe is due further credit for ensuring that his own particular (if second-hand) vision is carried throughout. The album closes on a spectacular high, with the wafting feedback prettiness of "Outback" followed by the majestic drone of "She's Gone," armed with a stunning guitar line, then wrapping up with an untitled bonus track that assuredly builds to a strong end with quirky touches. Though the band never returned to this sound in full, Newcombe and BJM as a whole have nothing to be ashamed of here. -AMG


Friday, August 31, 2012

Pyramidiacs - Teeter Totter - 1996

Characterized by a upbeat power-pop feel, the Pyramidiacs sound has remained consistent since the group's 1988 origins. Based in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield, Australia, the original line-up of Eddie Owen (guitar/ vocals), Bob Susnjara (bass/ vocals) and Mickster Baty (drums) took upon a musical idolization for the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, Big Star and Matthew Sweet. With the 1992 addition of guitarist Mick O'Regan, the Pyramidiacs would eventually release a slew of singles and compilation tracks before their 1993 full-length debut, Don't Wish It. The following year saw the Pyramidiacs' second album, All You Want, released through Pink Flamingo Records before their 1995 European tour. The group's third album, Teeter Totter, came out in 1996 courtesy of Ranezz Records. -AMG

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mike Shupp - This Time - 2002

This album is teeming with catchy melodies and sweet pop/rock arrangements. From the opening notes of the title track or the shimmering "All Over Town," Mike Shupp resembles a cross between Tom Petty and Michael Stipe as drummer Chris Zogby propels the music forward. Another asset is how the musician eliminates any needless guitar solos or sonic slack. "I'm having trouble knowing lately who I am," Shupp sings on "Came to This," but given his penchant for tight arrangements that teeter toward lo-fi alternative rock, he knows what he wants musically. A track such as "Another Life" has been done literally thousands of times, but Shupp gives it a certain warmth courtesy of his delivery and better than average lyrics. Fans of the Replacements All Shook Down album should find comfort in much of the record, especially the adorable twang emanating from "Set Me Free." "Good Again" is probably the best track simply because it offers up a slightly looser feel and some simplistic Keith Richards riffs. The exception to the album is the somber and melancholic groove on "Forgiven," a tune that takes a while to find its footing. But "She'll Come Around" steers the record back on track. Although This Time has one or two slight drawbacks, the album is extremely well done. -AMG

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Interview: Dave Birk, Creator of Speed Queen Mystery Date, Airs Out His Dirty Laundry Pt1.

[This is part one of an interview with Dave Birk, singer-songwriter and creator of Speed Queen Mystery Date. You can read part two by going to Carolina Orange by clicking here.]

1) This being your first LP (or am I wrong?), it begs the question...what events led up to this point? What was the impetus for recording Speed Queen Mystery Date now?
I've been writing and recording for years - put out some demos, shared songs with family and friends, and helped others with their musical pursuits. A CD of my own was always 'in the making' -- but kinda like a cake with the oven temp set too low, I never moved it past the dream phase. And, as a songwriter, the next song is always your best so I never really felt I was arriving with a summary body of work that I would categorize as 'good enough.'
Then, in 2010 and early 2011, I had a few things converge that really prompted me to make this record. While producing an EP for an awesome local band, Circle of Heat, I took a look in the rear view mirror at all the bands, musicians and theatres that I had helped over the years with music production, songwriting and recording. Considering any one of those efforts didn't seem like a great feat, but considering the whole body of work affirmed my musical sensibilities and gave me a definite sense of accomplishment and credibility. Around that same time I got involved with a music experience called Rock Camp for Dads (, that provides a month-long, guided experience for 'campers' to form a band with a performance at the end of the month. I was in two bands: Trunk Bunnies (vocals and bass) and Hotdish Suicide (vocals and drums), performing at venerable Minneapolis music venues - Bunkers, Famous Dave's Blues Club, and the Hard Rock Cafe. That really energized me, while at the same time found me performing cover songs rather than my own. Finally, my employer ended up downsizing, which resulted in my having one of those blessing-in-disguise moments that freed up a big chunk of time that I could dedicate to make this CD a reality. Having great support from my amazing wife, Jill, sealed the deal on working to make this all happen. Originally planned as a 4-song EP, the songs sounded so great and the process was so fun that I knew I had to pursue recording a full-length CD.

2) Is there a discipline to the way you write or does inspiration just show up unannounced?
Pat Pattison will tell you that inspiration is the distance between your (behind) and the seat upon which you do your songwriting - and I agree with that philosophy. Pushing myself to write new material to grow the EP to the full-length album really proved out how sitting down, focusing and working turns out stronger results. That said, most of my songs, at least the initial spark, spring from my heart from a lyric and melody that just pop out. Then I work and work them to build them out, trying to find the creative twists and turns and make them into whole songs. Lots and lots of ideas end up as fragments in files that may never see the light of day again, but some will hang around in my subconscious and help write themselves over time. Finally, for any aspiring songwriters out there, I will add that a lot of my ideas come from really seeing myself as a songwriter and constantly being engaged looking and listening for ideas, finding new ways to say things, trying to find more than one meaning in words and phrases. That feeds and tunes the creative engines so that the process flows rather than being a chore - certainly it is still difficult, but every song brings a unique challenge and opportunity to learn and grow.
3) How much of Speed Queen Mystery Date is autobiographical, if any at all (I'm thinking particularly of "Country Music", as song on the LP that I particularly relate to)?
All of my songs have varying levels of autobiographical connection, but it is hard to say how much in each song. Sometimes the sentiment is based on my life with the story is mostly disconnected. For example, the title of "Roller Coaster of Love, Hate and Tenderness" was how I described my wife's reaction to my motorcycle accident. Her last words before my ride were something like to be careful and I need you. Then I ride off and end up crashing the bike when I'm doing like sixty. So her first retraction is that she's glad I'm alive, followed by a serious scolding and eternal moratorium on motorcycles, followed by lots of gentle caring. The song, however, is about a boy/girl relationship, which I've ultimately decided is a metaphor of how life can takes through some extreme ups-and-downs and spins-us-arounds.
Then, there's Sleeping Beauty that I originally wrote as a poem for my wife, so that is 100% autobiographical. And I knew a Jody with red hair, green eyes and mysterious smile, walked with a little limp and was cool, but the rest of the song simply builds around that.
Funny thing is, my wife thinks that all my songs are about her - or at least worries that everyone who hears them will think they are about her, but they're not. Each song has its own life, regardless of how much of 'me' is in it.
4) You used Kickestarter to raise the necessary funds to record Speed Queen Mystery Date. How would you describe the experience and how were you able to record a great sounding LP on a shoestring budget? Did you use any unusual enticements to get folks to donate?
The entire Kickstarter experience was great and is the reason I was able to finance the making of a full-length CD. The encouragement I received from the backers was the greatest thing - having a bunch of friends and family cheering for you, believing in you, and being genuinely interested in what you will create. My personal mission statement is to create and encourage and support other artists, so that makes Kickstarter even that much cooler to me.
I never anticipated how much personal marketing I would still need to do to get the word out, remind people, and remind people some more. I felt bad about bugging people as I don't like begging or twisting arms, but at the same time I had already recorded 4 songs that I knew were really good and super fun to listen to and I wanted people to join in that journey with me. It was worth all the midnight emails.
The rewards for my kickstarter project focused on a laundry theme to connect with the premise of "Speed Queen Mystery Date" and also sought to showcase and support artist friends. The most creative thing I offered was the stray sock adoption program. You know how every time you do the wash you end up with at least one sock without a match, well, we save them in a box. So, with help from my daughters, my sister and my niece we turned them into sock puppets, complete with adoption certificates. It was great fun. I also gave CDs from the various bands the musicians play in and original art from artist friends of mine (abstract photos, hand-bound journals, and textile art).

You can find Dave and his fine CD, Speed Queen Mystery Date, at his BandCamp page HERE.
If that doesn't suit you for some reason, Try iTunes or

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free 10th anniversary download of Bigger Lovers' 2nd album 'Honey in the Hive'

Howdy folks -

Patrick Berkery, drummer from The Bigger Lovers here.

As you may or may not know, our 2nd album, 'Honey in the Hive,' was released 10 years ago today: Aug. 27, 2002.

To mark the occasion, we are offering the album as a free download (or a pay-what-you-want deal for those that feel really strongly about such matters) until the end of the week. Download it here.

To further mark the occasion, we are playing the album in its entirety live at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia on Sat., Sept. 8. Tickets here.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Redd Kross - Third Eye - 1990

Redd Kross reached its peak in the early '80s, when the band made such humorous and clever contributions to punk rock as "Linda Blair." As the '80s progressed, Kross got away from punk and went for cleaner, less reckless alternative rock and power-pop. Those who play 1990's Third Eye next to Kross' early recordings will hear just how radically the band changed over the years. Whether rocking aggressively on "Shonen Knife," going for a very melodic "jangly guitar" approach on "Annie's Gone" and "I Don't Know How to Be Your Friend" or sounding positively Beatlesque on "Bubblegum Factory," Kross shows just how far it has come since the irreverent, freewheeling aggression of "Linda Blair." While some punk enthusiasts missed the old Kross, this decent though not outstanding album proves that the band was still worthwhile at the dawn of the '90s. - AMG

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Neats - Neats - 1983

Formed in 1979, the Neats were one of the great enigmas in Boston's fertile 1980s club scene. During these years, one did not have to look far for a bill that might include any combination of the roots-rocking Del Fuegos, the Nuggets garage rock-worshipping Lyres, and the drunken hardcore punk slamming of Gang Green. the Neats were yet another item altogether; a decidedly collegiate group of clean-cut, straight-faced brooding guys who played evocative and melancholy music that encompassed the pre-psychedelic1960s-era folk-rock of the Seekers, Baroque pop of the Left Banke and the Zombies, and the bluesy moods of the early Rolling Stones and Them.
Their closest contemporary American cousins were bands like the Feelies, Dream Syndicate, and the band they often shared a national bill with, early R.E.M. They also had a kinship with New Zealand pop outfits like the Clean and even British groups like Echo and the Bunnymen -- though without the high level of romantic drama of the latter; the drama of the Neats was manifested in a more introspective and subdued manner. Like those bands, on their first EP, The Monkey's Head in the Corner of the Room (1982), and debut LP, Neats (1983), the Neats favored clean guitar swaths, ebbing and flowing washes of strummed rhythms, and single-note melody lines over traditional improvised soloing. Always there was a melancholy sort of punk rock edge shadowing the music, a feel and sound that somehow links to a Boston tradition that can be traced through such bands as Mission of Burma to Galaxy 500 and beyond. -AMG

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wheres Curty Ray?

Life has kinda caught up with me , but have no fear, Power Pop Overdose is still alive and well. Between work and family concerns I have not been able to give 100% to PPO. I am sorry. I will be back to posting soon, be patient.

Curty Ray

A Message From Tim Lee

On Friday, June 15, my fellow Windbreakers co-founder Bobby Sutliff was involved in a bad single-vehicle accident near his home in Powell, Ohio. He sustained several serious injuries, and as of early July was still in the SICU at the Ohio State University hospital. Due to the severity of his wounds, Bobby faces a very long uphill climb to recovery.

Fortunately, he has good health insurance through his employer, but he faces many months of recuperation, and thus will require some very real help with his living expenses and other expenditures.
Toward that end, we have undertaken a couple of fundraising measures, starting with a Chipin account where Bobby’s friends and fans can donate to the cause. A tribute record of other artists covering his songs is also in the works, and more information about that will be made available in the coming days.

Whether you know Bobby personally or through his music, we request that you donate what you can to help a beloved musician and friend in his time of need.Also, please share this page with your friends. Bobby needs all the assistance he can get.
Thank you, Tim Lee

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Tearaways - Ground's the Limit - 1997

While the Tearaways could've easily faded into power pop oblivion, their charming, ringing power pop came to the attention of some of the right people. Especially notable is that the haunting "Jessica Something" was included in Rhino's genre-defining Poptopia series of power pop classics of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, even though the Tearaways were still relative unknowns. It endeared them to the right audience: The rabidly cult following of power pop leeched on and this album became a bit of a left-field hit. The Tearaways' sound is obviously indebted to '80s jangle pop -- especially Let's Active and the dB's, but their alternately haunting and punchy pop songs have charm that's all their own. "Jessica Something" is certainly not the only highlight: As the rocking "For Free" or ringing "I Can't Get Through" prove, the Tearaways certainly have quite a few good songs in them. -AMG

Monday, June 11, 2012

This Perfect Day - Don't Smile - 1995

After a somewhat lackluster sophomore release, This Perfect Day rebounded with the critically successful (albeit commercially slow) Don't Smile. While it was only released in the band's native Sweden, there's a ton to love here, especially for fans. Opening with the fuzzed-out, over the top "Flamingo," a song dripping with smooth vocal harmonies and a crashing guitar solo, the band barely relents throughout. The guitars are turned up to the max on every track, completely washing the ten-song cycle in distortion and feedback. The effect is tremendous, as quick comparisons could easily be made to other excellent discs like Oasis' Definitely Maybe, Matthew Sweet's 100% Fun, and Silver Sun's self-titled debut. Album highlights also include the sizzling single "It's a Shame" and the summery title track. -AMG

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Marty Graveyard's new album 'Summer Holiday' due June 21st

The Madd's former drummer /songwriter is about to release his first solo album. Summer Holiday will be released by V2 Records on the first day of Summer, that's June 21! You can bet that it will be filled with relentlessly catchy, hook-laden, guitar driven power pop. What a great way to start out a summer that is sure to be filled with great music. Summer Holiday will be available at V2 Records and other fine music outlets. PPO will keep you up to date on this one. And also,.. Don't forget to like Marty Graveyard on Facebook!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stream The New dB's album now

Get ready! Power-pop legends the dB's will be releasing their first full length album in 25 years. It’s also the first in three decades to feature the band’s original lineup of singer/songwriter/guitarists Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby, the same lineup that recorded the beloved early-’80s classics Stands for deciBels and Repercussion
The dB's new album is due out June 12th but you can stream it now.  Can't miss top ten for 2012!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hal - Hal - 2005

Hal are destined to be compared to the Thrills: both groups are from Ireland; both are purveyors of ultra-hooky, dramatic vocal harmony-drenched tunes with a West Coat slant; and both are very, very good. Once you get past the surface comparisons, though, there are enough differences to reduce the similarities to a happy coincidence. Hal certainly aren't ripping off the Thrills; there is far too much exuberance and excitement on their debut album for them to be written off as mere imitators. They lack the pretension and arch concept of the Thrills; they also have more emotional depth and a more relaxed feel. Besides, they just might be better anyway. The first two songs give the Thrills and just about anyone else a serious run: "What a Lovely Dance" is a chiming mini-epic that encompasses walls of guitars, humming synthesizers and organs, lyrics about lost mittens and messed-up hair, spiraling falsetto harmonies, and a totally alive sound that feels like you have your fingers knuckle deep in a light socket, and the Edwyn Collins-produced "Play the Hits" is a star-spangled blast of sunshine and manic energy that is hard to listen to without picturing Hal racing around like the Monkees on the beach as brothers Dave and Paul Allen croon and careen through wall of bells, maracas, and Motown guitars. The rest of the record is no real letdown either, as the Allens' vocals are a constant treat and the group proves itself equally adept at laid-back ballads that utilize subtle string arrangements (the aching "Keep Love As Your Golden Rule," "I Sat Down"); gentle, summery rockers ("Don't Come Running," the falsetto-drenched "Fools By Your Side"); and even arena-friendly soft rock ballads (the weighty "Worry About the Wind," which shows bands like Coldplay that you can be serious and deep without being boring). Echoes of the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, the Beach Boys, and Phil Spector are everywhere, and while those aren't exactly unique or even very interesting reference points in 2005, Hal again go beyond imitation and use their influences as a good band should, as guides and not blueprints. Hal really sound like another in the long line of melodic bands from the British Isles that has been dazzling music fans since the late '90s -- think Super Furry Animals, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and (again, in case you forgot) the Thrills. Add some American groups like Mercury Rev at their poppiest and a choir-less Polyphonic Spree, or Canadians like the Heavy Blinkers, and if that list sounds like your record collection, you shouldn't think twice about adding Hal. They'll be stuck in your CD player for weeks, guaranteed. -AMG

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Music of note

Don't forget that Dan Kibler's jangly and twangly (with some pedal steel flourishes sprinkled about), self-titled Kool Kat debut is available now. It is definitely a contender for the 2012 PPo top 10! Also this comes with a cool bonus when you order it from Kool Kat. Tell 'em Curty Ray sent ya...

Bill Lloyd has released a video from his excellent new album (which should also make the 2012 PPO Top 10)"Boy King Of Tokyo ". Enjoy the video then go get the disc here, here or here. You will not be dissappointed.

Massachusetts poppers Hot Molasses have a new EP that is worth a listen and it is free! Check it out.

"POWER POP PRIME - Volume 1" is available and shipping. This special book comes with a limited edition physical 15-song CD that will ship with the book, featuring tracks from The Shazam, Bill Lloyd & The Sky Kings, The Spongetones, DM3, Myracle Brah, The Nines, The Mockers, Splitsvilly, Cockeyed Ghost, The Gladhands, Walter Clevenger & The Dairy Kings, Kenny Howes, Sun Sawed In /12 and Ken Sharp.

(If you order by June 7th, Bruce will send you a special link to download 20 out of print songs from the Not Lame label catalogs - even if you were a hardcore fan of the label, there will be some you have not heard...)

To order "Volume 1" - Click here and if you missed the other two books in the series, maybe you can still get a copy by getting in touch with Bruce here.

Here is the premiere of the new Little Barrie video “Tip It Over” from King of The Waves. Click here for upcoming tour dates.

As always, thanks for being a PPO Junkie!

Curty Ray

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Michael Carpenter - Hopefulness - 2001

Michael Carpenter's debut album Baby was a stunningly diverse collection of good rock & roll and, most importantly, good production. Carpenter is, first and foremost, a producer; so not only are the songs important, but the execution matters for every bit as much. That's why Baby succeeded, and why ultimately Hopefulness does too. Carpenter's second solo album is a concept album -- of sorts. The set of 12 tracks is lyrically and thematically all tied to Carpenter's recent marriage. On paper, that sounds forced and terribly sappy, of course, but when listening to the actual album, the emotion comes through. Carpenter has had little trouble showing affection for what he loves; his influences are worn on his sleeve, and now he doesn't hide his emotions about his marriage, either. It's hardly typical rock music fodder -- no fast, red sports cars, no "hot girls in love" as Loverboy once sang about -- just one contented, honest songwriter who wants to invite all his fans to his wedding reception, via this CD. Carpenter does get that intimate with the listener, too, and that's why this is such a warm and inviting listen. Those who were intrigued by Baby may find there's a lot to love here: the opening "Kailee Anne" sounds a lot like early Joe Jackson, and the rollicking anthem "Faith" would not have been out of place on the debut. The album is mellower than Baby, too, and this does produce mixed results -- but there is not enough of a reinvention here to possibly scare away anyone impressed with Carpenter's prior work. To round out the album, Carpenter throws in two excellent covers: one of the Beach Boys' rocker "You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone" and Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World." -AMG

Monday, May 28, 2012

New Americans - New Americans - 2000

True blue, American-as-apple-pie music isn’t always easy to come by in a pop scene where many try as hard as they possibly can to sound British, but the exciting new duo of Dan Touhy and Casey Fundaro, aka New Americans, dish it up quite nicely on their debut, eight-song effort. Eschewing typical power poppin’ soundscapes for a more singer-songwritery Approach—think what might have occurred had Seals left Crofts in ’71 and hooked up with Jimmy Webb and Gene Clark for an LP’s worth of musical fun and frolic—Touhy and Fundaro pretty much hit the nail on the head every time out on New Americans. From the plaintive love song “Anna” to the jaunty “Comin’ to an End” and the lyrically bitter (yet hummable) “So Alone,” everything works. Touhy’s no-frills lead vocals suit the material to a tee, while Fundaro provides some nifty background vocal parts (his eerie falsetto bkg’s on the beautiful, heartfelt ode to a loved one who has passed, “Looking Down,” may be the finest moment on the disc). Awash with deeply felt lyrics, 12 string guitars and songs that stick, New Americans is  certainly a promising debut. -John M. Borack, Alan Haber's Pure Pop

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Veteran popper Dan Kibler makes his Kool Kat label debut with a terrific, guitar-filled, roots pop effort!

Dan's jangly and twangly (with some pedal steel flourishes sprinkled about), self-titled Kool Kat debut was co-produced by Michael Giblin (Cherry Twister/Parallex Project). Michael also plays bass and keyboards on the record. The record merges a pop/alternative air with traditional, straight from the heart, no chaser, country heartbreak. It's masterful, and it's original. This is guitar-entwined, roots pop at its finest folks! Dan is capable of taking a simple melody and infusing his heart felt lyrics with bite. Timeless sounds abound here, driven by Dan's gorgeously rough-hewn vocals, the thousand pound chops of the guitar-wielding Dan and John Fritchey, and the classy rhythm section of Giblin and Tony Melchoirre. "The razor sharp pop that forms the backdrop for his melancholy musings lingered for weeks after the first listen!" - Music Reviews Quarterly "His twin gifts are his hickory-smoked vocals and songwriting perched smartly in between introspection and sing-along popcraft." - Option Magazine "His music is rootsy as hell, but without any real or imagined Southern accent." - MOJO Magazine "I believe than Dan is a great creative talent who seems to get better with age. His thing is intense emotion, and he channels it through a great voice that gives his songs such texture. He lets you hear it in the way he can sing with a cracked, angelic grace over waves of guitar electricity, all nicely played with conviction by a great, backing band!" - Max Humphries Includes an extremely cool cover of The Zombies' "I Can't Make Up My Mind"!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pyramidiacs - Teenage Complications - 1998

From one of Australia`s very best pop bands....don`t be confused as it was called "Teenage Complications" but a legal hassle changed the name. Their third time hits the mark stronger than their previous two CDs, `All You Can` and `Teeter Totter` (both available, limited copies of All You Can, tho). Both of those CD`s were consistent displays of their influences (basically, any band who ever played a Rickenbacker!!) and you`d be none the worse to own them, but if you don`t own any, then this is THE place to begin. Strummed to "10" and into the red 12-stringed chiming, their sound is distinctively Australian, echoing the classic strains of The Mad Turks and Someloves and merging them with Teenage Fanclub and Material Issue. "Fans of Teenage Fanclub, fans of The Chevelles, fans of DM3 and all power pop fans in general...this album is a MUST for your collection!"-Amplifier. " It`s not often you run across an album with such consistency, but this is one of those records you`ll never tire of. A living textbook of the modern power pop form" -Big O. Driving, propulsive rhythms and crystalline production make their gritty-ish, but clean take on the POWER in POP one of the best examples of the genre around. Stunningly and grippingly recommended to put at the top of any want list, it`s that good. -Not Lame

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pugwash - Jollity - 2005

Released in Ireland on September 23rd 2005 Jollity was an instant hit with the press and public alike, becoming The Pugs most successful release to date. 4 and 5 star reviews abound (Irish Times, Hot Press, Evening Herald) the band set out on a promotional jaunt around their native land with a unique power-house 3 piece plus I-Pod set up. The culmination of which was a packed Monday night gig in Dublin’s famous Whelans venue.
Jollity is jam-packed with jelly pop, baroque sensibilities and mellow whimsy. Featuring the band and friends alongside legends of the pop/rock genre such as Dave Gregory and Eric Matthews

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kimberley Rew - Tunnel into Summer - 2000

If you had to predict what a Kimberley Rew solo album would sound like (and this one is his formal debut, discounting the 1982 compilation The Bible of Bop), based on his tenure in the Soft Boys and Katrina and the Waves you would figure that it would contain some good songs -- this is the man who wrote "Walking on Sunshine" and "Going Down to Liverpool" -- and have some good, chiming guitar playing. But, since Rew took a back seat to Robyn Hitchcock in the Soft Boys and to Katrina Leskanich in Katrina and the Waves, you might expect that he wouldn't be much of a singer or frontman. The surprise of Tunnel Into Summer, therefore, is that he turns out to be an entirely competent singer, sounding like a somewhat more engaged Hitchcock with his pronounced English accent. He doesn't have the presence as a singer that experience gives you, but he has no trouble carrying a tune, and he sings his own lyrics enthusiastically. Not surprisingly, the other elements in his music are in place: the guitars do dominate the pop/rock arrangements, and they ring out pleasantly; and there are several excellent songs. There may not be any hits in the making like "Walking on Sunshine," but the catchy opening number, "Simple Pleasures," and "Plas yn Rhiw" (a British geography title as unfriendly to American ears as Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre") deserve to join the short list of the songwriter's best efforts. Also not surprising is that, as a solo artist, Rew splits the difference in terms of style between his two major group affiliations. His solo music recalls the work of the Soft Boys and Hitchcock's solo work, and given that ex-Soft Boy Andy Metcalfe produced and played on many of the tracks and that Hitchcock also guested on a few, that's to be expected. But Rew is not interested in the same lyrical conundrums that Hitchcock explores so obsessively. His writing is optimistic, not convoluted, which recalls the more overtly pop songs he contributed to Katrina and the Waves. It may be that the result won't quite please Hitchcock or Katrina fans, but with this release Rew deserves to start gathering some fans of his own. -AMG

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chris Richards and the Subtractions set to release Get Yer La La’s Out on May 29th

Detroit power pop trio Chris Richards and the Subtractions will release their latest full-length Get Yer La La’s Out on Gangplank Records on May 29th. Produced by Gangplank-founder David Feeny at his own Tempermill Studios just outside of Detroit, the album contains 10 songs of hook-laden, melody-intensive pop confection (The vinyl version of La La’s will feature an additional track- a cover of Dogs by the Who and will be released in mid June).

In addition to singer/songwriter Chris Richards, the Subtractions feature a powerful rhythm section in bass player Todd Holmes and drummer Larry Grodsky who have been fixtures on the Detroit scene since their time in 80’s and 90’s outfits Hippodrome and The Pantookas.

Richards’ love of power pop, which combines an affection for the music of the British Invasion along with 90’s bands such as Teenage Fanclub and The Velvet Crush, is reflected in their guitar-driven approach.

The Subtractions last record, Sad Sounds of the Summer, received glowing reviews from The All Music Guide and a sundry of Power Pop leaning publications as well as countless “Best Of” lists in 2009- including - David Bash Best of 2009 List, John Borack’s Best of 2009, #3 on the overall Best of the Year Audities List, Beat the Indie Drum-Essential Albums of 2009, Not Lame/Bruce Brodeen- Best of 2009, Pop Chef (Spain), Power Pop Station (Brazil), Power Pop Review (UK), Absolute Power Pop and Power Popaholic. Richards’ 2004 Mystery Spot was voted as one of the “Best of the Decade” by Power Pop Action (Spain).

The band’s sound also has global appeal, thanks to power pop’s enduring popularity far beyond its British and American shores. According to Richards, “I've been fortunate to have my records released and do well in Spain, Sweden, Japan, and Australia and both the press and fan reaction have been amazing. It's a challenge trying to let fans in multiple countries know we’ve got a record out, but there’s such a great network of the genre’s fans out there that word just seems to spread.”

The recording of Get Yer La La’s Out took place over multiple sessions in late 2011 at Detroit’s Tempermill Studios, produced and mixed by Tempermill owner and multi-instrumentalist David Feeny (Blanche, American Mars).

For more info visit - and


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